Japan announced its first successful test of a medium-range electromagnetic gun at sea, a weapon that can significantly increase the attack power of warships.
The Technology Acquisition and Logistics Agency (ATLA) of the Japanese Ministry of Defense on October 17 announced the completion of a sea test with electromagnetic guns for warships. This is the first test firing of this electromagnetic gun model in the context of the Japanese military’s efforts to strengthen its maritime capabilities.
“We are promoting the deployment of electromagnetic gun technology as soon as possible to protect warships from air and sea threats,” ATLA said. Japanese officials did not disclose further information but did release a video of the test firing, showing many angles of the cannon during the firing process.
ATLA’s medium electromagnetic gun prototype first appeared in May, capable of firing steel warheads with a caliber of 40 mm and a mass of 320 g. The artillery shell seems to reach a muzzle velocity of about 2.2 km/s, 6.5 times the speed of sound, but the specific range is unknown.
It is unclear whether electromagnetic guns can be put into service with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the type of warship equipped with this weapon. The JMSDF in 2015 announced the design of the Maya-class destroyer, showing that it could be fitted with electromagnetic guns thanks to being equipped with a larger capacity generator than previous generations of warships.
Electromagnetic cannons do not use explosives but utilize the energy of electromagnetic rails to push the warhead at many times the speed of sound, much faster than conventional artillery shells. The large firing range and fast response speed of electromagnetic guns are expected to help strengthen warships equipped with these weapons.
Electromagnetic artillery shells need to be made from highly durable and conductive materials. The Japanese Ministry of Defense believes that new material technology from domestic companies can be applied to make bullets for electromagnetic guns.
Japan develops electromagnetic guns in the context that Russia and China have staffed and are developing hypersonic weapons. North Korea has also tested hypersonic missiles many times. The US and a number of other countries are also researching electromagnetic guns, but neither side has succeeded in putting this technology into practical application.